LONDON—WPP Group—parent to public relations firms including Burson-Marsteller, Cohn & Wolfe, Hill & Knowlton and Ogilvy Pubic Relations Worldwide—reported a 3.2 percent increase in its PR and public affairs business in the first half of 2009, providing further evidence that the industry is beginning to bound back after a difficult 2010.
Overall, the group’s revenue was up by more than 3.5 percent to £4.441 billion, with like-for-like revenue up 2.5 percent. Operating profit was up by more than 33 percent to £455 million, and profit before tax up 36 percent to £244 million.
The group said its business in the United States continued to show “remarkably strong growth,” with like-for-like revenues in the second quarter up well over 8 percent. The United Kingdom also improved substantially in the second quarter, while western continental Europe remains difficult.
In constant currencies, the Group's public relations and public affairs revenues grew by 3.2 percent, with like-for-like revenues up 2 percent. Reported operating margins improved 3.2 margin points to 14.8 percent.